Flight International online news 15:30 GMT: Italian investigators have revealed that both engines on the Tuninter ATR 72-200 ,which crashed on 6 August, had stopped operating before the aircraft ditched off the Sicilian coast, 13km north of Palermo.
But the probe is facing potential difficulties because the aircraft’s two flight recorders are submerged in 1,200m (3,850ft) of water.
Both pilots are among 23 occupants who survived the ditching, but their injuries are such that neither has yet been interviewed by investigators. There were 35 passengers and four crew members on board but 13 are confirmed dead and the remaining three are listed as missing.
The aircraft had been attempting to make an emergency landing at Palermo in Sicily after the pilot reported the failure of one of the aircraft’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PW124 engines.
Italian air accident investigation organisation Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo (ANSV) said: “During the emergency approach the pilot lost the second engine. That’s why he ditched.”
Early indications, it said, suggest the starboard engine stopped first. The ATR 72’s fuselage broke into three main pieces upon impact, the central section with the wings and engines staying afloat while the cockpit and empennage sank.
Recovery of the central section and engines has enabled ANSV to determine that both powerplants had stopped and that both sets of propellers had been feathered.
Tunisian authorities and aircraft manufacturer ATR are supporting the Italian investigation. ATR says that the aircraft, registered TS-LBB and delivered in 1992, had logged 29,710 flight hours and 34,790 cycles by the end of May this year.
Source: Flight International